Everyone in the UK motor trade has been banging on for ages about how manufacturers are slowly but surely introducing the agency retail model, which challenges the way the majority of dealerships operate. Well, here it comes, fast around the corner.
Here at Need To Know motors we are predicting 2022 as The Year of the Agency Model.
Why are we so confident? Because it seems that’s what the customers want now, as well.
What Car? has just published a survey of 1,310 car buyers and more than half reckon the haggle-free agency model is the way to go. Worse than that, 65% of respondents said they’d happily buy online if manufacturers ran agency sales models.
According to What Car? editor Steve Huntingford: “The agency sales model is one of the hot topics for 2022. While our research shows the majority of buyers support the move to it, and that it could result in a significant increase in online retail for manufacturers that adopt the model, it remains to be seen whether the industry can hold its nerve on pricing when it is running at full capacity.
“To work, it’s clear that automotive retail sites need to be slick and easy to use, and have adequate support in place to give customers the confidence to commit to set prices, rather than shop around, both for discounts or among rivals who might not have the same rules in place. With this in mind, it’s important manufacturers considering moving to an agency model ensure their online retail platforms ensure they are capable of meeting expectations.”
This is not a ‘boy cries wolf’ situation. Plenty of manufacturers such as VW and Volvo are already committing to agency-style online sales; Merc is driving it home across Europe; Honda have said it’s looking closely at it.
It’s coming sooner than we first feared. Sorry to start the new year like this, but it’s reality smacking us in the face.